Surprise! There’s No October Surprise!

Updated
Donald Trump makes his "big announcement" on YouTube.
Donald Trump makes his "big announcement" on YouTube.

It’s October 26th and the time for October Surprises is quickly running out.

Donald Trump employed an ever-noble extortion technique on Wednesday by demanding that President Obama release his college records and passport application by 5 p.m. on Oct. 31st. Yes, Donald Trump, in all of his clownish glory, gave the president of the United States an ultimatum with a Halloween deadline. He even evoked a bit of Don Corleone in the process.

“I have a deal for the president, a deal that I don’t believe he can refuse.”

In return, Trump promised to donate $5 million to the charity of the president’s choice. But only if the records are released to The Donald’s “satisfaction.”

Of course, the president doesn’t dignify blackmail attempts with a serious response. Instead, during his appearance on The Tonight Show w/ Jay Leno Wednesday night, President Obama jokingly blamed Trump’s repeated attacks on resentment from their childhood days when they used to face off on the soccer fields of Kenya.

Over on the other side of politics, high-profile attorney Gloria Allred has announced an October bombshell of her own. But the details of this one seem a bit more damning than those of Trump’s latest trick.

Allred’s claims revolve around an early 1990s divorce case in which one Willard Mitt Romney delivered key testimony on behalf of his friend and colleague Tom Stemberg who is the co-founder of Staples, one of Bain Capital’s earliest investment deals.

Thanks to a Massachusetts state court ruling Thursday, the transcript of Romney’s testimony has been unsealed. The 192-page filing shows that the office-supplies retailer issued a new class of shares before its initial public offering in order to help fund Stemberg’s divorce from Maureen Sullivan Stemberg.

“It was something which was done in my opinion, it was initiated as a favor. Tom needed to have a settlement with his wife so that was the genesis of it,” Romney said, according to the transcripts.

However, reports suggest that Sullivan Stemberg was not satisfied with the settlement she received. An independent filmmaker who interviewed her for a movie project told Reuters on Wednesday that she felt Romney inaccurately described the value of the company during his testimony.

In addition to requesting that Romney’s testimony be unsealed, Allred also asked that a decades-old confidentiality agreement be lifted so that her client, Sullivan-Stemberg, could give further context to Romney’s statements. According to Reuters, Allred called the testimony “essentially meaningless to the public” when given out of context.

However, that request was denied by Norfolk Probate & Family Court Assistant Judicial Case Manager Jennifer Ulwick.

“It’s the most comprehensive gag order I have ever seen in my 36 years of practicing law. She apparently is the only person in the United States of America, maybe the world, who cannot speak about Governor Romney,” she said.

So will we get an October Surprise? With just eleven days to go until Election Day, the chances are looking bleak.

Surprise! There's No October Surprise!

Updated